Difference Between Ghetto and Hood

Ghetto and hood are words that describe a living place where people reside. Although they refer to some residences, they are different in terms of the particularity as to which type of residence they specifically point to.

The ghetto is specifically slum areas where specific racial groups live, and the hood is referred to places that are low living.

Ghetto vs Hood

The main difference between ghetto and hood is that the former one refers to poverty-stricken or slum areas in rural areas where the minorities or the same racial groups of people reside, whereas the latter one refers to the poverty-stricken or slums that fall under the boundaries of any urban area.

Ghetto vs Hood

The term ghetto was derived from “ghet,” which means “slag” in Venetian. This word is used to describe the deprived and poor living areas.

Life there is very difficult, and the people residing in the ghetto are mostly unemployed and illiterate. Although in modern terms, the meaning of ghetto is slightly changed, and it refers to an urban place where a particular racial group of people resides.

Hood is an acronym or short form for the neighborhood. The term hood refers to places where most of the population is comprised of African Americans.

Describing somebody as a hood means a person who lives in a hood and possesses the essence of urban culture.

Comparison Table Between Ghetto and Hood

Parameters of comparisonGhettoHood
DefinitionThe ghetto is a slum of rural areas.Hood are poor areas that lie under the boundaries of an urban area.
Derivation It was derived from the Venetian word “ghet”.It is the short form for the neighborhood.
OriginIt was first used in Venice.The word hood was coined in Chicago.
Audacity Calling somebody ghetto is considered derogatory.Calling somebody hood can be in some way considered as a positive comment.
InterchangeableA Ghetto can be a hood.No hood is ghetto.

What is Ghetto?

The word ghetto emerged in Venice for the first time to refer to the area where a community of Jews was forcefully restricted to live in. The word was derived from the Venetian word “ghet,” which meant “slag.”

In contrast to the past, the word Ghetto is used to refer to the area or part of any city where the poor and deprived minority groups reside in modern times. In all, the basic meaning behind the “ghetto” is to point to the most impoverished area of any place.

Ghetto has many versions of it across the globe, and all of have different categories and community. In today’s time, calling a person “ghetto” is considered an insult.

In the past, the ghettos were treated badly. They were not allowed to leave their walls in which they were enclosed.

The Jews were kept away rest of the city population. Keeping the essence of the word from the historical times, the word now refers to the slums or any minority caste dwelling of any rural area.

Just like the Jews were made to lead a low life ghetto in present times is used for poverty-stricken people and their residence area.

Ghetto in slang language notes to trashy, low-class, or inferior people.

What is Hood?

The word hood emerged from the nearby neighborhood that lay in the southern part of Chicago where black people lived. Thus, it was derived from the word neighborhood.

Hood is also sometimes used as an acronym for the neighborhood in modern times.

Hood is not like ghetto as people confuse it with being another synonym for the ghetto, but there are quite a few differences between them both.

Hood is any slum or poor area within the urban city. Every ghetto can be considered as a hood, but a hood is never categorized as a ghetto.

Despite the hardships of livelihood in a hood, many people were successful and are living a classy normal life nowadays.

In slang language, hood often refers to people who live in any slum but have been to a ghetto and have the stance of urban culture in them, or in a bad sense, also refers to gangsters or thugs.

It is also sometimes used as a compliment for the people who have lived in a hood and known the struggle yet made successfully out of it and leading a good life. The word hood is not as offending compared to the ghetto.

Hood points to any areas concentrated on African American population.

Main Differences Between Ghetto and Hood

  1. Ghetto, as discussed above, particularly points to the slum areas which are overflowing with poor or any specific type of minority community in the rural areas whereas hood means the areas where the poor population resides that are within the boundaries of the urban area.
  2. The word ghetto is derived from the Venetian word “ghet,” which means “slag,” and on the other hand, the hood was originally extracted from the word neighborhood, and thus, it is the acronym of the word neighborhood.
  3. It was first used in Venice for the areas where the Jews were forcefully made to reside, whereas the word hood was derived from the black neighborhood that lay on the south side of Chicago.
  4. Calling a person as “ghetto” is considered derogatory and insulting as to referring that person to be low class and trashy and on the other hand, calling a person as “hood” could be considered as a slight positive compliment as to appraising that person to rise from a low living area and for his struggle or can in indicating for having an essence of urban culture who lives in the hood.
  5. A ghetto can be a hood, but no hood is ever defined as a ghetto.
Difference Between Ghetto and Hood


Both the words ghetto and hood came to light in two different regions, but both of them refer to poor, low-living areas of Venice and Chicago, respectively.

Although they refer to the poor slums, there are very notably minor differences that create a fine line between them. 

Many people confuse them both as the same, but the word words have an entirely different history, and they both refer to a different kind of poor living areas that was discussed and conveyed above.

Life in such places is very difficult, and many people have fought through the mundane environment there and risen high to achieve success.


  1. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=
  2. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED036587
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